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Eugeroics are a class of stimulants that produce long-lasting mental arousal. These stimulants tend to increase alertness without the peripheral (body) effects or addiction/tolerance/abuse potential of the traditional stimulants.[How to reference and link to summary or text] They have minimal effect on sleep structure, and do not cause rebound hypersomnolence or "come down" effects.
There are currently only two marketed drugs in this class, Modafinil and its earlier analogue Adrafinil. Another drug under production, code-named CX717, is being produced by the pharmacutical company Cortex.
The term itself means "Good Arousal" and has been recommended for use as a treatment for narcolepsy and to augment antidepressants. The US Air Force has spearheaded research in this field for their pilots on long missions.
A related group of drugs called Ampakines share many similar traits, although these seem to be more targeted towards specific conditions, such as memory enhancement.
When comparing Provigil (Modafinil) to drugs like Ritalin, the effect is longer lasting and avoids the cyclical effect common with Ritalin. Typically when used for the treatment of Narcolepsy, Ritalin can take up to 20 minutes for the effects to begin to work, last for 2.5 - 3 hours and the drop off quite quickly. These effects become quite difficult for a person subject to a disorder, wishing to lead a normal life. As one would expect there is a constant need to find the right timing to take the prescribed doses. Additionally, should a patient find themselves out at night, feeling sleepy, they have to choose whether or not to take another pill, even when they are only 45 minutes from their home; for the risks outweigh the consequences. On the one hand, the chances are quite good that they may fall asleep during the drive home, hurting themselves or worse, someone else. The flip side is, without something else available to reduce the effects of the Ritalin once they get home they are subject to a long nights watching infomercials, not being able to get any rest until it is just about time to wake up and get ready for work. It becomes quite the vicious cycle. Now their decision was limited to calling in to work, explaining that they will be a bit late (3 hours) or take another pill and hope they could last at work without falling asleep on the copy machine or on someones lunch tray, (of which there are many anecdotal stories available) Prior to the availability of medicine like (Modafinil) this routine was typical of a patient with Narcolepsy. Now the Ritalin is used for back-up cases since the effects are relatively short term, at least in comparison to Modafinil.
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